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Label Spotlight: Vandal Records

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Label Spotlight: Vandal Records

Who are you?

Julien SKS – promoter of several nights in Toulouse at Le Bikini. DJ, and producer in two projects – Broma with Tryst Temps and Forum with The Clamps and Opsen

I founded and have run Vandal Records in Toulouse since 2004.

What’s your ethos?

The label focuses on releasing drum and bass music aimed at the dancefloor from both established and up-and-coming artists helping to showcase the diversity, creativity and forward-thinking within the genre.

Tell us your origin story. Was it a deep concept or a chat in the pub?

A mix of both for sure! I was organising rave parties at the very end of the 90s with my first electronic music crew Kimyst and we met a hard techno tribe called Fox Tanz. Laurent – Loul from Fox Tanz was running 2 or 3 Techno labels and asked me to create a drum and bass division. So I found a name, an artwork and got music from artists for it and it was the start of Vandal in 2004. After 6 vinyl releases, Loul stopped running labels and I decided to continue the Vandal adventure on my own. Also, I have to mention Redeyes who has always been a great help and support with the label during the years with his creativity and vision.

Where are you based? / Tell us about your local scene…

The label is based in Toulouse where as people have said “There is something in the water” because there are a lot of drum and bass artists who have built international careers and had success with it.

The scene is very diversified too in terms of style, from artists like Burr Oak (The Clamps & Opsen), Redpill, Forum, Tryst Temps, and Love The End doing harder music, to Redeyes, Trail, Monty, Broma, Fakt, and Visages, making more deep and liquid stuff. 

Of course, Le Bikini and drum & bass Nights there helped to create vocations for some and brought many artists from the scene to meet and share their passion for this music.

Do you have a specific sound or vibe?

Vandal Records has an eclectic sound from deep and liquid music to more techy and harder sounds. I think different music vibes can be heard during the day in the car, at the office or on a dance floor. The label is representing these moments like a journey into music.

Do you have a regular artist roster- who can we see releasing with you?

There are artists who release every year on the label like Objectiv, Minor Forms, Kublai, Motiv, Broma (Tryst Temps and my project), Arclight, and DJ Madd to name but a few…

This year has been really busy with the 20 Years Of Vandal Records LP out now on 3×12” vinyl gatefold and digital and loads of releases on the label from Fre4knc, Klippee, Morrow, Love The End and Subliminal, Objectiv, Minor Forms, Broma and new Toulouse talent Fakt are the next lined up.

Tell us about your A&R process…

I take time to listen to the demos I receive. It is very important to respect and listen to the work an artist has sent to you. I also listen to a lot of promos from other labels and new music releases to discover new talent. Also, as I’m a promoter I try to be aware as much as I can about what is happening in the scene to book the line up for my parties. 

When I release music with an artist I speak a lot with them, finding a place between what they would like to release, what I’m looking for and what I think would work with the label’s sound. We have had a visual identity at Vandal for 20 years and I always ask the artist if they would like something in particular for the artwork. All this is to ensure that both the music and artwork of the release meet the expectations of both the artist and the label.

What makes you different from other labels?

Vandal has always taken risks to push new talent as well as releasing more well-known producers. The label has also garnered praise for its distinctive artwork and design, with each release featuring unique and eye-catching visuals. In addition to releasing music, Vandal Records also hosts events and showcases for drum and bass artists, helping to support and promote the scene both in France and internationally.

What does it take to run a bass music label in 2024?

I would say lots of time and dedication. We are in the sharp position of being a launching pad for new talent as well as being attractive enough for established artists.

What have you got coming up that we should look out for?

Next up is Modern Soul LP this summer, as well as regular artist releases across the end of the year. Also we are working with a UK-based label to release a collab album and tour featuring artists from our respective catalogues, I won’t say any more just yet… Also, you can come to Toulouse and celebrate with us for our birthday party at the mighty Bikini on September 7 with a sick line up of artists from the album.

20 Years Of Vandal Records LP is Out Now

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